Visualization of the Superior Ophthalmic Veins by 3 Tesla 3D-TOF-MR Angiography

Neuroradiol J. 2008 Dec 17;21(5):619-22. doi: 10.1177/197140090802100502. Epub 2008 Dec 17.


The superior ophthalmic veins (SOVs) are sometimes visualized on three-dimensional time-of-flight magnetic resonance (3D-TOF-MR) angiograms obtained with a 3 Tesla system. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine the incidence of visualization of normal SOVs on 3D-TOF-MR angiograms, and their characteristic features. We reviewed 3D-TOF-MR angiograms of 345 consecutive patients obtained with a 3 Tesla MR device. Patients comprised 170 males and 175 females, aged five to 93 years. Most of the patients had, or were thought to have, cerebrovascular disease. The SOV was visualized in 13 of the 345 patients (3.8%). The visualized SOV was on the left side in seven of the 13, and on the right side in two. Both the right and left SOVs were visualized in four patients. The left SOV was more clearly visualized in two of these patients, whereas the SOVs were equally visible on both sides in the other two. There was a female predominance (M:F = 1:12) but no relation between age and visualization of SOVs. None of the visualized SOVs were dilated, and no dilated cavernous sinus was seen. The facial veins and angular veins were also visualized, continuing to the SOVs, suggesting rapid retrograde flow in the facial veins. SOVs are sometimes visualized on 3D-TOF-MR angiograms. This phenomenon should not be misdiagnosed as an asymptomatic dural carotid-cavernous fistula.